Web platforms offer opportunity and risk

May 2009 Security Services & Risk Management

The introduction of Web 2.0 technologies into the mainstream market has resulted in a host of new opportunities for companies to save on technology expenditure by renting online applications and platforms to assist in running their businesses. However, with increasing opportunities come increased security threats.

“Not only do new Web platforms make it easier and cheaper to find and use applications that used to cost a small fortune in proprietary format, they also make it easier to create and host applications,” says Amir Lubashevsky, executive director of Magix Integration. “Today it is easy to make use of or offer any number of Web platforms from hosting locations anywhere in the world.

“Moreover, with open standards employed, companies can pick and choose applications from multiple providers to create a full suite of software solutions at a fraction of what it previously cost. Yet, while the applications are available at lower costs, it is irresponsible and a total aberration to corporate governance principles to simultaneously try to cut security spending.”

These small applications are often hosted by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), taking advantage of the Internet to gain customers from anywhere in the world. The problem is that while these SMBs are able to host and offer applications over the Internet, they are generally unable to provide an adequate security layer to protect users from the threats Web applications are prone to.

It is therefore crucial for users of these Web platforms to ensure they protect themselves. Using Web applications means customers are unaware who wrote the applications, who has access to the servers, who can edit the code and, possibly the most important issue, who has access to the your company’s details and data.

Most service providers offer some form of security, but only the largest are able to implement complete intrusion and malware detection and prevention systems due to the cost of these appliances. It is therefore up to the customers to take the necessary steps to ensure its systems and data are secure.

“While Web 2.0 opens the door to using truly global and cost-effective applications, it also opens the door for criminals who are able to exploit weakly secured technologies,” adds Lubashevsky. “Web applications are flexible, cheaper and more feature rich than traditional applications, but companies should only use them if they have ensured their IT security policies are geared for the openness and transparency of the Internet and all the threats contained therein.”

For more information contact Amir Lubashevsky, Magix Integration, +27 (0)11 258 4442, amirl@magix.co.za

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